WEST HARTFORD, Conn. – Southern Vermont College saw Mitchell College overcome a late two-run deficit to tie a Thursday New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) first round playoff before the Mariners scored one in the bottom of the seventh to walk off with a 3-2 win over No. 7 SVC at the Kingsford Oxford School.
The third-seeded Mariners trailed 2-0 for most of the contest but scored single runs in each of the final three innings to advance to the double-elimination portion of the tournament. Sophomore Alexandra Blanchette (Taftville, Conn.) doubled in the bottom of the seventh and later scored from third base on a wild pitch with the winning run.
Sophomore Shannon O'Neil (Chicopee, Mass.) went 3 -3 with a double to lead the Mariners at the plate.
The Mountaineers threatened in the first by putting runners on first and third with only one out. Mitchell starter Brittany Fiederlein (East Hampton, Conn.) worked her way out of trouble with a strikeout and a nifty play by shortstop Lindsey Romagnino (Totowa, N.J.) to escape damage. SVC freshman Mallory Celeste (Gansevoort, N.Y.) hit a shallow pop-up that dropped behind the third base bag, but Romagnino scooped up the ball and fired home to cut off the run at the plate.
The Mountaineers scored both of their runs in the second inning to go up 2-0. Senior Kirstin Buchan (Albany, N.Y.) kept the inning alive with a two-out single to center field, and Fleming followed with a shot over the left fielder that went for an inside-the-park home run.
The Mariners put a runner in scoring position with only one out in both the second and third innings but came up empty each time. Mitchell then had two on with two outs in the fourth before Fleming pitched her way out of the jam once again.
Freshman Samantha Ryan (Waterford, Conn.) led-off the Mitchell fifth with a single to center and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Blanchette. A bunt single by sophomore Rivkah Berkman (New London, Conn.) gave the Mariners runners at the corners with one out, and sophomore Jenny Groman (New Britain, Conn.) plated the first run with a sacrifice fly to center.
The Mountaineers turned the ball over to Zovistoski in the sixth, and the first batter she faced was O'Neil who hit a ground-rule double down the left field line before leaving the game in favor of a pinch runner. Senior Tricia Tomaselli (Guilford, Conn.) took her place at second, and she moved to third on a ground-out before scoring on a wild pitch.
Fiederlein shut down Southern Vt. in the seventh to keep the game tied at 2-2. She retired the final 14 batters she faced and struck out seven while allowing six hits for the win (12-7).
Blanchette got things going in the home half of the seventh with a ground-rule double to the right-center gap with one out. Berkman moved her to third with a sacrifice bunt, and Groman was down to her final strike before the wild pitch allowed the winning run to score.
Fleming pitched five innings and gave up one run on four hits while striking out two and walking two. Zovistoski tossed 1.2 innings of relief and yielded two runs on two hits in the loss (1-6).
Southern Vt. ends the season with an overall record of 11-20.
Mitchell (17-17) will next face seventh-seeded Regis College on Friday, May 2 at noon. The remainder of the tournament will be hosted by top-seeded Lesley University at Regis. Lesley and fourth-seeded Newbury College will play the day's first game at 10 a.m.